Last week I shared about losing our pet Ginger. I really appreciate how many of you took time sharing your condolences by talking, emailing, and even sending cards. I am also amazed at how many of you told me that you had experienced a similar loss recently. You told how, in this case, you did know something of what I was going through. With some of you, I even got a little choked up as we talked, or I read your email or your card.
Since that time I have been thinking more about how loss affects us. Losing someone or something we care about touches us deeply. While losing a pet often feels like we are losing a member of our family, I am wondering why this particular kind of loss brings out such strong emotions.
I don't know a lot about the theology of pets and the afterlife. I think that if God's plan, as talked about in the book of Revelation (21:1-2), is of a new heaven and a new earth when all shall be restored, then how could that happen without animals? The Bible also says that the lamb will lie down with the lion (Isaiah 11:6), so I assume that would also extend to dogs and cats getting along, too. No one knows for sure.
When we think of the loss of a person, we think not only about a person being gone for us, but where they are "going" next. So, we have some thoughts about the person being in the presence of God or heaven or somewhere. But with the loss of a pet, we probably don't spend a lot of time thinking about our pet's next "destination." For that reason, it seems like more of our attention is focused on our loss here and now. I wonder if that is one of the reasons the loss of a pet may hit us so hard. When we lose a person, we may think that we should not grieve too much -- particularly if our loved one is supposed to be in or on the way to heaven. On the other hand, maybe we can really let it all out when we lose a pet because, for us, they are really gone . . . and we feel it.
If you have any thoughts about this, I would be interested to hear them - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prayer for Today
Lord, when we care about someone and something, we hurt when they are gone - even if for just a little while. We pray for you to comfort those who mourn (Matthew 5:4). Thank you for walking with us through the all of the valleys of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4). We pray this in the name of Jesus the Christ. Amen.